Over the years, the garage had become an abyss of worthless or unused crap. All of them were guilty of dumping their stuff in there, and now the mess was out of control. They couldn’t even park their cars in there anymore. It had to be dealt with now, as this year’s spring cleaning was not just that. It was a complete overhaul of the house as well as a downsizing of possessions. Unless a miracle dropped from the sky, they’d most likely have to put their house on the market within the month. Kate loved their house. She bit back tears, looked around, and formulated a plan.
She decided to start in the middle of the garage, then work her way around the walls. She decided to make three piles, keep, donate, and undecided. She vowed to herself to make quick decisions and to not overthink things. It was probably a blessing that her kids and husband weren’t here to help. This will probably go much faster without them. She would make executive decisions about what stayed and what went.
Three hours went swiftly by and all that was left was the boxes lining the walls of the garage. She started pulling boxes away from the first wall. Some were labeled and some weren’t, but she opened them all. The usual stuff — clothes the kids had outgrown, artwork from their preschool and elementary days, tools, and gardening gear. Then she stopped when she came across something odd. A locked wooden box. All the other boxes were cardboard and she had never seen this wooden box before. It was a dark wood, mahogany maybe, lacquered to a high shine. Weird, she thought. She stood there looking at the wooden box. Should I open it, or should I wait for Michael to get home? She shook her head. “I have to open it now!” She located Michael’s toolbox and pulled out a bolt cutter. The metal lock snapped off and fell to the ground. She sat in front of the box, carefully setting the bolt cutter beside her.
Slowly, she placed her hand on the latch, but paused. What if it’s a severed human head? Or something more horrible? Not sure what would be more horrible than a severed human head, she quickly shook off the thought. I’ve seen too way many movies. She flung open the box lid. It was not a severed human head, but she still couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The box was full of cash, with some jewels mixed in as well. Before she knew what she was doing, her hands were in the box, rifling through its contents. The cash was all $100 bills, and the major gemstones were all represented. Diamonds, emerald, rubies, and sapphires. “What the hell!” She slammed the lid shut. So many questions flooded her mind all at once.
Who did the box belong to?
Why was it left behind?
How were the cash and jewels acquired?
Most likely some kind of illegal activity, but what?
Is the rightful owner still alive?
If the owner is still alive, will they come back for it?
Are me and my family in danger?
Is there any possible way to keep it?
Kate couldn’t help but to think about that last question. All the cash aside, there was a diamond necklace in there that alone could solve all their money problems. “Of course we can’t keep it!” Kate knew she was looking at a box full of trouble, but it was nice to daydream. Just then, she heard behind her the rumble of tires and the squeaky brakes on Michael’s SUV pulling into the driveway.
She quickly stood and shoved some cardboard boxes in front of the wooden box. The last thing she needed was for one of the kids to notice it and ask questions. She turned, kissed the kids and told them to go inside to get cleaned up. “I’ll order pizza in a little bit,” she told them. Michael looked at her, then at all the progress she’d made with the garage. He opened his mouth to say something, presumably a compliment for Kate.
She held up her hand to cut him off at the pass. “Whatever it is, save it. We need to talk. Now.”
This is my story for the month of March, with spring cleaning being the theme. Three months down, nine to go!